Over the last two weeks at home, mum and I have developed a military routine of changing and emptying my various bags… but this morning, something is different. This morning I wake up feeling like I need to pee, but there is hardly anything in my catheter. I presume this means I am a bit dehydrated and so decide to drink an entire bottle of juice.
A few hours go by and my desperation grows, but still no pee. We call my home health nurse, Jessie, to see if he knows what’s going on.
“I think your catheter must be blocked,” he says. “But you can’t pull it out on your own because it’s held in place with a balloon of fluid inside your bladder. I’ll be there as soon as I can”.
“How long?” I mouth for mum to ask him.
“About an hour”.
Oh God. An hour!? This is going to be torture.
“Let’s watch something”, mum says, putting on an episode of New Girl.
The first thirty minutes go by and I’m holding it together by the skin of my teeth, although I now fucking hate New Girl.
“Can a bladder explode Mum?”
“No Lucy, don’t be silly”.
Another 20 minutes pass in agony.
“I don’t know what to do Mum. I can’t stand this another minute”. I panic, desperately trying to ignore my bulging tummy and the severe abdominal pain.
Mum paces back and forward, looking out of the window for Jessie.
“This is ridiculous,” I yell. “Surely it’s been an hour already?”
Mum sees a van pull up outside and runs to open the door for Jessie. He flusters in talking gibberish and throws his bag down beside the bed.
“Do you have a syringe?” he asks mum. “I need a syringe to empty the bag of fluid”.
Mum looks around madly for a syringe, tearing boxes from cupboards that clatter onto the floor.
“I don’t think so”, she yells from the bathroom. “Nope, no syringe”.
“Where’s the fucking syringe?!” I yell, unhelpfully.
“I’ll check my car again”, Jessie says, sprinting back outside.
Two minutes later he emerges through the front door with a plastic bag held triumphantly aloft. Walking over to me, he unwraps the syringe and attaches it to a valve on the catheter tube. Drawing out a tube full of clear fluid he tugs at the catheter as mum wedges a yellow tub underneath my butt to catch the pee.
We wait for the flood gates to open.
But nothing happens.
The anti-climax is so debilitating I can’t help but find the whole thing hilarious. I produce a deep belly laugh, but his makes the desperation even more intense.
OMG. I am actually going to explode.
“It might be the angle that’s stopping you from relaxing”, Jessie says. He looks at mum, “you’ll just have to remove the tub and let her pee the bed”.
Fuck it. Relax Lucy, relax. I tell myself desperately, closing my eyes and digging deep into my memory bank for the sensation of peeing. What do I do with my muscles? I visualise myself sitting on a toilet.
And then it happens. A flood of merciful, warm, bless-ed urine rushes from my bladder and absorbs thirstily into the sheets and foam that surround me.
“Just relax and don’t worry about it for a moment”, Jessie says.
Oh, I am not worried Jessie. I am not worried at all.
The pee continues to flow, as a serene grin spreads across my face.
Mum is laughing now, and Jessie’s face opens into a rare display of pleasure.
“I’d say you were pretty close to rupturing there,” he says, strangely cheerfully.
Oblivious to my current situation, and seemingly high on serotonin, I motion Jessie towards the couch, pick up the remote and nestle deeper into my lake of pee.
“Now” I command. “Let’s all sit down and watch another episode of New Girl”.